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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Bird research highlights this week on PubMed: September 2014 Week 3

PubMed listing for 'bird' OR 'songbird' excluding references to influenza and flu - September 2014 Week 3

1. PLoS One. 2014 Sep 12;9(9):e107341. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107341. eCollection 2014.

Repeatability of Feather Mite Prevalence and Intensity in Passerine Birds.

Diaz-Real J1, Serrano D2, Pérez-Tris J, Fernández-González S, Bermejo A, Calleja JA, De la Puente J, De Palacio D, Martínez JL, Moreno-Opo R, Ponce C, Frías O, Tella JL, Møller AP, Figuerola J, Pap PL, Kovács I, Vágási CI, Meléndez L, Blanco G, Aguilera E, Senar JC, Galván I, Atiénzar F, Barba E, Cantó JL, Cortés V, Monrós JS, Piculo R, Vögeli M, Borràs A, Navarro C, Mestre A, Jovani R1.
Author information:
1Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC), Sevilla, Spain; Departamento de Ecoloxía e Bioloxía Animal. Universidade de Vigo, Campus As Lagoas Marconsende, Vigo, Pontevedra, Spain.


Understanding why host species differ so much in symbiont loads and how this depends on ecological host and symbiont traits is a major issue in the ecology of symbiosis. A first step in this inquiry is to know whether observed differences among host species are species-specific traits or more related with host-symbiont environmental conditions. Here we analysed the repeatability (R) of the intensity and the prevalence of feather mites to partition within- and among-host species variance components. We compiled the largest dataset so far available: 119 Paleartic passerine bird species, 75,944 individual birds, ca. 1.8 million mites, seven countries, 23 study years. Several analyses and approaches were made to estimate R and adjusted repeatability (Radj) after controlling for potential confounding factors (breeding period, weather, habitat, spatial autocorrelation and researcher identity). The prevalence of feather mites was moderately repeatable (R = 0.26-0.53; Radj = 0.32-0.57); smaller values were found for intensity (R = 0.19-0.30; Radj = 0.18-0.30). These moderate repeatabilities show that prevalence and intensity of feather mites differ among species, but also that the high variation within species leads to considerable overlap among bird species. Differences in the prevalence and intensity of feather mites within bird species were small among habitats, suggesting that local factors are playing a secondary role. However, effects of local climatic conditions were partially observed for intensity.
PMID: 25216248 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

2. Science. 2014 Sep 12;345(6202):1343-6. doi: 10.1126/science.1254610.

Loss of avian phylogenetic diversity in neotropical agricultural systems.

Frishkoff LO1, Karp DS2, M'Gonigle LK3, Mendenhall CD4, Zook J5, Kremen C3, Hadly EA6, Daily GC7.
Author information:
1Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
2Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. Nature Conservancy, Berkeley, CA 94705, USA.
3Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
4Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
5Unión de Ornitólogos de Costa Rica, Apartado 182-4200, Naranjo de Alajuela, Costa Rica.
6Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
7Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, SE-104 05 Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm Resilience Center, University of Stockholm, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.


Habitat conversion is the primary driver of biodiversity loss, yet little is known about how it is restructuring the tree of life by favoring some lineages over others. We combined a complete avian phylogeny with 12 years of Costa Rican bird surveys (118,127 detections across 487 species) sampled in three land uses: forest reserves, diversified agricultural systems, and intensive monocultures. Diversified agricultural systems supported 600 million more years of evolutionary history than intensive monocultures but 300 million fewer years than forests. Compared with species with many extant relatives, evolutionarily distinct species were extirpated at higher rates in both diversified and intensive agricultural systems. Forests are therefore essential for maintaining diversity across the tree of life, but diversified agricultural systems may help buffer against extreme loss of phylogenetic diversity.
Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
PMID: 25214627 [PubMed - in process]

3. Poult Sci. 2014 Sep 11. pii: PS4207. [Epub ahead of print]

Effects of probiotics and application methods on performance and response of broiler chickens to an Eimeria challenge.

Ritzi MM1, Abdelrahman W2, Mohnl M3, Dalloul RA4.
Author information:
1Avian Immunobiology Laboratory, Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg 24061.
2BIOMIN Holding GmbH, 3130 Herzogenburg 3130, Austria Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt 41522.
3BIOMIN Holding GmbH, 3130 Herzogenburg 3130, Austria.
4Avian Immunobiology Laboratory, Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg 24061


Coccidiosis is an inherent risk in the commercial broiler industry and inflicts devastating economic losses to poultry operations. Probiotics may provide a potential alternative to the prophylactic use of anticoccidials in commercial production. This study evaluated the effects of probiotic applications (feed and water) on bird performance and resistance to a mixed Eimeria infection in commercial broilers. On day of hatch, 1,008 commercial male broilers (Cobb 500) were assigned to 1 of 6 treatments (8 replicate floor pens; 21 birds/pen), including noninfected negative control (NEG), Eimeria-infected positive control (POS), anticoccidial control (0.01% salinomycin, SAL), intermittent high-dose water-applied probiotic (WPI), continuous low-dose water-applied probiotic (WPC), and feed-supplemented probiotic (FSP). On d 15, all birds except those in NEG were challenged with a mixed inoculum of Eimeria acervulina, Eimeria maxima, and Eimeria tenella. Measurements were taken on d 7, 15, 21, 28, 35, and 42. Fecal samples were collected from d 20 to 24 for oocyst counts, and lesion scores were evaluated on d 21. Data were analyzed using the Fit Model platform in JMP Pro 10.0 (SAS Institute Inc.). Differences in experimental treatments were tested using Tukey's honestly significant difference following ANOVA with significance reported at P ≤ 0.05. Overall, NEG birds outperformed all other groups. For performance, the probiotic groups were comparable with the SAL-treated birds, except during the 6 d immediately following the Eimeria species challenge, where the SAL birds exhibited better performance. The WPC birds had lower duodenal and jejunal lesion scores, indicating a healthier intestine and enhanced resistance to Eimeria species compared with POS. Birds in the WPI treatment shed fewer oocysts in the feces, although this was not a trend for all of the probiotic treatment groups. The results of this study suggest probiotic supplementation without anticoccidials can enhance performance and help alleviate the negative effects of a mixed Eimeria infection.
Poultry Science Association Inc.
PMID: 25214558 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

4. J Exp Biol. 2014 Sep 11. pii: jeb.107573. [Epub ahead of print]

The intensity threshold of colour vision in a passerine bird, the blue tit.

Gomez D1, Grégoire A2, Del Rey Granado M2, Bassoul M2, Degueldre D2, Perret P2, Doutrelant C2.
Author information:
1CNRS MNHN, Brunoy, France;
2CEFE, CNRS, Montpellier, France.


Many vertebrates use colour vision for vital behaviours. Yet, their visual performance in dim light is largely unknown. The light intensity threshold of colour vision is only known in humans, horses and two parrot species. Here, we first explore this threshold in a passerine bird, the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). Using a classic conditioning of colour cues to food rewards in three individuals, we find a threshold ranging from 0.05 to 0.2 cd.m-2. Results are comparable to the two previously tested bird species. For tits, nest light conditions likely exceed that threshold, at least after sunrise. These first results shed new light on the lively debate questioning cavity-nesters visual performance, and the evolutionary significance of egg and chick coloration. Although this needs proper testing, it is possible that blue tits exploit both colour and brightness cues when viewing their eggs, chicks or conspecifics in their nests.
PMID: 25214487 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

5. Trop Life Sci Res. 2014 Aug;25(1):95-103.

The Numerical Competency of Two Bird Species (Corvus splendens and Acridotheres tristis).

Rahman NA, Fadzly N, Dzakwan NM, Zulkifli NH.
Author information:
School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 USM, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia.


We conducted a series of experiments to test the numerical competency of two species of birds, Corvus splendens (House Crow) and Acridotheres tristis (Common Myna). Both species were allowed to choose from seven different groups of mealworms with varying proportions. We considered the birds to have made a correct choice when it selected the food group with the highest number of mealworms. Our overall results indicated that the Common Myna is able to count numbers (161 successful choices out of 247 trials) better than House Crows (133 successful choices out of 241 trials). We suspect that House Crows do not rely on a numerical sense when selecting food. Although House Crows mostly chose the cup with more mealworms (from seven food item proportions), only one proportion was chosen at rate above random chance. The Common Myna, however, were slow performers at the beginning but became increasingly more capable of numerical sense during the remainder of the experiment (four out of seven food proportion groups were chosen at a rate above random chance).
PMID: 25210590 [PubMed]

6. PLoS One. 2014 Sep 11;9(9):e106366. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106366. eCollection 2014.

Mapping seabird sensitivity to offshore wind farms.

Bradbury G1, Trinder M2, Furness B2, Banks AN3, Caldow RW3, Hume D4.
Author information:
1Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (Consulting) Ltd., Slimbridge, United Kingdom.
2MacArthur Green, Glasgow, United Kingdom.
3Natural England, Exeter, United Kingdom.
4Marine Management Organisation, Newcastle, United Kingdom.


We present a Geographic Information System (GIS) tool, SeaMaST (Seabird Mapping and Sensitivity Tool), to provide evidence on the use of sea areas by seabirds and inshore waterbirds in English territorial waters, mapping their relative sensitivity to offshore wind farms. SeaMaST is a freely available evidence source for use by all connected to the offshore wind industry and will assist statutory agencies in assessing potential risks to seabird populations from planned developments. Data were compiled from offshore boat and aerial observer surveys spanning the period 1979-2012. The data were analysed using distance analysis and Density Surface Modelling to produce predicted bird densities across a grid covering English territorial waters at a resolution of 3 km×3 km. Coefficients of Variation were estimated for each grid cell density, as an indication of confidence in predictions. Offshore wind farm sensitivity scores were compiled for seabird species using English territorial waters. The comparative risks to each species of collision with turbines and displacement from operational turbines were reviewed and scored separately, and the scores were multiplied by the bird density estimates to produce relative sensitivity maps. The sensitivity maps reflected well the amassed distributions of the most sensitive species. SeaMaST is an important new tool for assessing potential impacts on seabird populations from offshore development at a time when multiple large areas of development are proposed which overlap with many seabird species' ranges. It will inform marine spatial planning as well as identifying priority areas of sea usage by marine birds. Example SeaMaST outputs are presented.
PMID: 25210739 [PubMed - in process]

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